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Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 18:35 GMT
Police pose as cab drivers
Police in taxi-cab
Dog handlers will ride in the cabs
Police have assured taxi drivers who are being attacked by youths in Liverpool that the problem is being taken seriously.

Protesting drivers made their fears known when they blockaded a city centre police station on Tuesday by driving around it for more than half an hour.

Over the Christmas period, plain clothes police officers will be sent out in black cabs in an attempt to catch the youths.

Tom McIntyre, the Liverpool taxi representative for the Transport and General Workers' Union told BBC News Online: "Every one of the 417 cabs in Liverpool has been hit at least once or twice.

Police cabbies
Police drivers will go out each evening

"Gangs of youths stand there with boxes of eggs to throw... if they throw them over the windscreen they can blind the drivers, and what is going to happen if they then drive through a bus stop?

"It started with just bricks and eggs but now it is anything... one lad had a four-inch bolt thrown at him, which went through one side of the cab and out of the other."

More than 100 taxi drivers drove around the Merseyside Police headquaters at Canning Place on Tuesday afternoon.

They claimed the police were not taking attacks on their vehicles seriously.

'Trojan taxi'

Under "Operation Trojan Taxi" black cabs will patrol Merseyside driven by a plainclothes police officer with a dog handler and police dog in the rear.

Chief Inspector Steve McNaughton from Merseyside Police said: "You will not know where these taxis will be.

"This targeting of innocent taxi drivers, who are just going about their daily business, has got to stop.

"We are determined to stamp out this abhorrent behaviour, which is seriously affecting the quality of life for both taxi drivers and local people."

Click here to go to BBC Liverpool Online
See also:

16 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Police concerned for taxi drivers
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